Tag Archives: trials

From Oppression to Opportunity

FROM OPPRESSION TO OPPORTUNITY

By Carolyn Dale Newell

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33 NKJV

How do you prepare someone for the unthinkable? For several chapters, Jesus had been doing just that, exhorting His eleven disciples to handle what was about to transpire. Judas had already left to sell out Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.

Jesus knew His arrest, trial, and crucifixion would shatter and scatter the remaining disciples. As He summarized His discourse, Jesus gave the disciples and every Christian three promises in the above verse.

First, Jesus promises peace. His second promise assures us that as long as we live in this world, we will encounter tribulations, but there is one more promise. We can be encouraged because Jesus has overcome the world.

In the midst of every storm, we seek peace. Let the winds settle down. Forbid the waves to churn. Let our ships stop rocking. Wouldn’t it be cruel to be out in the Atlantic in the path of a hurricane? Becoming seasick would only worsen an already horrific situation. That’s a double whammy, and sometimes life throws them at us. Removing that nausea won’t make the howling storm go away, but you can handle it much better if you weren’t ill.

Enter divine peace. The peace of Jesus won’t make that cancer go away. Peace won’t remove the bills you cannot pay. Peace won’t heal that rocky relationship, nor mend your brokenness, but it keeps you steady in the storm.

The peace of Jesus will stabilize us. It will calm our anxieties. It will soothe our hearts and minds.

Even though we are guaranteed tribulations, we are promised peace. A peace the world cannot offer (Phil. 4:6-7).

Then, Jesus tells us to take heart. Trouble is coming, but don’t allow it to bring you down. Don’t allow the enemy to whisper doubt and fear in your ear. Jesus has overcome the world. Jesus was victorious over the cross, over the grave, and over Satan and his demonic forces. This is our victory cry.

Our oppression is really our opportunity to see God work.

Each storm we pass through is another reason to pray and observe the miracles of God. What will You do this time, Lord? Watching God work is amazing, but we cannot perceive His wonders until something is broken. That’s when we have a front row seat to watch the power of God move.

I don’t like the promise of squalls any more than you do, but since they are unavoidable, I prefer sailing through with peace. The unknown elements of any tempest can toss us about, but the perfect peace of Jesus keeps us tranquil.

Since I cannot prevent the howling winds, I can lift up my chin and be of good cheer. I get to watch the Master at work. What masterpiece will You unveil for us this time?

Lord, we praise You for giving us Your peace to handle the storms. Our thankful hearts glorify You because You have overcome the world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

DIG DEEPER

Read John 16.

HIKING THE TRAIL

Looking at past storms, how has God blessed you through them? Remember that, especially through your next season of pain.

Copyright 2019 Carolyn Dale Newell.

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Guide Dog Tales: Come Close

Come Close

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:28 NKJV

Two of Iva’s many commands are “Come” and “Close”.” “Come is reserved for times when she is off-leash, and I need her to come to me. “Close” is usually used when she is on her leash, and I want to draw her close to my body in order to position her in a “Sit” and “Down” to tuck her out of the way. For instance, I use it while I sit on the bench at Walmart, waiting for my husband. I like to keep her from laying in the busy aisle.

One Sunday, at church, as I headed to the altar, I noticed Iva’s pace was much faster than normal. Normal for church that is. Then I realized why. My pastor was saying, “Come…come.” Iva thought Pastor Ray was calling her to come to him. But Pastor Ray’s invitation was an extension of the authoritative call to repentance from Jesus Christ found in the above verse.

Jesus welcomed all to come to Him, those who labored under sin’s burden. Those who were heavy laden under hundreds of Jewish manmade laws that had been added to the laws of God. Those who were weary from the burdens of life. “Come to Me,” said Jesus, “and I will give you rest.” Rest from sin’s power. Rest from sin’s penalty. Rest from our heavy load. Rest from the burdens of religious leaders.

Do you need His rest today? Most of us live overloaded schedules and find little time for rest. Why is that? Could it be that we haven’t heeded Jesus’ call to come to Him? Are you living a life under the reign of sin? Jesus says, “Come!” Go to Him with a repentant heart.

Maybe like the Jews in Jesus’ day, you have religion, but you don’t have the relationship. Many denominations, churches, and people are still depending on good works. Works won’t get you to heaven, but the rest Jesus offers will.

Perhaps, you have the right relationship with Christ, but the troubles of life weigh you down. Those are the moments when we need to come close. We need to get in the presence of our Father. We cannot burn the candle at both ends and expect the rest Jesus promised when we have little time for Him. Get in the presence of Jesus.

Do we rush to the Lord with heightened expectancy like Iva scurried to Pastor Ray? Do we linger in the presence of the Holy Spirit soaking in His anointing, His blessings, His grace, His peace, and His joy?

Sweet friend, we have to seek the presence Of Jesus if we long for His rest. He desires to help us carry the load, but we must be close enough for Him to do it.

Go to the Lord in prayer. He is calling you. Seek Him, and give Him all those burdens you have tried handling on your own. Give them to the one who cares for you.

casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. (1 Pet. 5:7)

Copyright 2019 Carolyn Dale Newell.